According to Patt Dyck of Cannery Brewing Company, one of the hardest things about preparing to launch their latest beer was choosing an appropriate image to adorn the label.
“There are so many fabulous old pictures of the Sicamous that choosing one was very difficult,” said Dyck. Lakeboat Lager is named in tribute to Penticton’s iconic paddle wheeler, the SS Sicamous.
But more than just naming the lager for the boat, Cannery is taking an extra step to help preserve the landmark, which is nearly a century old.
“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with the SS Sicamous and celebrate and commemorate the importance of this beautiful landmark in our community, both historically and today. Our team really enjoyed working with the folks from the SS Sicamous, the Penticton Museum and the City of Penticton to come up with the name, packaging and advertising for our Lakeboat Lager,” said Dyck.
As part of the partnership between Cannery and the Sicamous, the craft brewery is allocating a portion of their annual sales from this beer to help with restoration of the boat, delivering the first cheque at the launch party, which was held aboard the Sicamous Wednesday evening.
“This partnership is very exciting for us. It will help us expand the awareness of the SS Sicamous outside of the Penticton area,” said Jim Cooper, president of the Sicamous restoration society. “The financial contributions from Cannery Brewing will help with restorations and updates on the ship.”
Partnerships like this, Cooper continued, help meet the society’s goal of sharing the history of the Sicamous and the significance of marine transportation to communities in the valley.
Lakeboat Lager, Dyck said, is the next stage in the evolution of the brewery’s lager, which they’ve been brewing for the last eight years.
“We have been tweaking its malt and hops and yeast profile,” said Dyck. “What we see is people that are looking for a balance in flavour and a smoothness, a real roundness to the beer, that is what we see and that is what we try to produce.”
Dyck describes the lager as smooth and very easy to drink, with a crisp finish.
“Lagers tend to be hot weather beers. It’s the kind of beer that you want on that 40 degree day or when you have just mowed the lawn or paddled to the other end of the lake,” said Dyck. “You’re looking for something that is very thirst quenching and lagers tend to be that.”
Like Cannery’s flagship product, Naramata Nut Brown Ale, Lakeboat Lager will be produced year round.
“This certainly has been an excellent year for us, there has been lots of growth, I think,” said Dyck. “This is an excellent time for all craft breweries, there has been such an interest and following as people expand their beer drinking tastes and experiences and we have been a part of that.”
One recent change in the provincial regulations governing breweries, however, won’t be much help to the smaller breweries like Cannery. Earlier this week, Rich Coleman, the minister responsible for liqour policy in B.C., announced they were reducing the per litre tax rate for breweries producing more than 160,000 litres per year.
“We’re too small, probably the only one it will effect is Pacific Western, at least at this point,” said Dyck. “There are quite a few of us that are smaller, then there are only a few that are in that large but not immense range.
“As things go forward, there may be more breweries that are interested in getting to the size of Pacific Western, but at the moment, they will be the ones most impacted.”
Dyck said the craft brewing industry is on the same track that wineries were on 30 years ago, convincing the government and the Liqour Distribution Branch to offer more support to the industry.
“I can remember the wine industry starting and if the LDB had not been supportive of that, we wouldn’t have the wine industry we have now,” said Dyck.
For craft breweries, Dyck thinks it is consumer demand driving the LDB to realize that there is a market for the craft beers that they were previously low on their radar.
“I see this huge change in the craft brew industry as being completely driven by the consumer,” said Dyck. “It’s wonderful that the consumer gets to say this is what we want.”
Cannery Brewing’s Lakeboat Lager will be available in 650ml bottles and on tap throughout B.C.
For more information on Cannery Brewing or any of its hand-crafted beers, visit www.CanneryBrewing.com, call 250-493-2723 or drop by and see them in the Brewery, which is located in Penticton, British Columbia.